Alex Ranftle – A B-17 Bombardier’s Story during WWII

Second Lieutenant Alex Ranftle’s journey to the hostile skies over Europe wasn’t a quick trip. Surprisingly, it took Alex two and a half years from the time he enlisted before he flew his first combat mission on D-Day-June 6, 1944 in the nose of a B-17G Flying Fortress. Three days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, an 18-year-old Alex Ranftle and two friends, tried to enlist in the Army Air Corps, but were told to return after Christmas. Ranftle, who had a deep desire to fly, did return … [Read more...]

Red Flag 12-3 – A Different Perspective

Once again, US Air Force units from around the country and coalition forces from around the world gathered at Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nevada to participate in Red Flag 12-3. Participants of Red Flag 12-3 included various fighter, bomber, tanker, electronic support units, from various branches of service, and coalition aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Air Force. During three days in mid-March 2012, Nellis AFB Public Affairs hosted 40 media members from around … [Read more...]

Flying with “Gulf 31” at Red Flag 11-2

On January 28, 2011, I was invited to fly with the 147th Air Refueling Squadron in support of Red Flag 11-2.  Our mission was to refuel five F-16 aggressors that were participating in the exercise. We would be flying a KC-135R from the 134th Air Refueling Wing of the Tennessee Air National Guard.  The crew flying this KC-135R would be from the 147th Air Refueling Squadron (of the 171st Air Refueling Wing) from Pennsylvania Air National Guard.  At the controls were Pilot Major Janet Lynn Van … [Read more...]

A-10 Simulators at Davis Monthan Air Force Base

On Friday March 4, 2011, Photorecon was invited to the A-10 flight simulator training facility at Davis Monthan Air Force Base outside Tucson, Arizona. The A-10 Thunderbolt II (later called the “Warthog” for it’s ugly appearance) was designed in the early 1970s as a close air support platform. The Warthog or “Hog” was built around a 30mm GAU Avenger 7 barrel Gatling rotary cannon. Initially unpopular with pilots due to its slow speed and ugly appearance, the A-10 became very popular after … [Read more...]